Wednesday, August 31, 2011
making links through Fresh expressions
Here is some notes from the talk I have gave last night, titled Making Links Through Fresh Expressions. And a concluding prayer, using this advertisement, which sort of really went off!!
Introduction (2 mins)
Moses and burning bush. It has a lot to say in terms of our topic – making links through F ex.
First, mission begins with listens – Exodus 3:7 “I have heard them crying because of their slave drivers …. “ Mission begins with this compassion for hurting people.
Second, Moses is asked to give what he’s got – “what is in your hand.” (Exodus 4:2) All he’s got is his stick. And a diseased hand. And a tongue that feels to thick. And that’s what God starts with. Pretty simple way to think about mission. It’s as is as simple as giving what’s in our hands. We’ve all got something.
For all of us, it’s our God story – our lives have been changed. As it says in Basis of Union – Para 3 – say it to the person beside you … you are “the beginning of a new creation, of a new humanity. God in Christ has given to all people in the Church the Holy Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that coming reconciliation and renewal
And our community charism. That each of us are in a church that has a particular set of gifts and possibilities.
So Making links – starts with us paying attention to the cries. And being willing to simply give what we’ve got.
I want to approach tonight under 4 headings
- linking through listening
- linking in (because despite tonight being about fresh expressions, many of you are in established churches and not yet ready to think about fresh expressions)
- linking out (focused on fresh expressions)
- linking in posture
I plan to talk for about 35 mins and then give you some time to chose 1 of those 4 headings and “do something”, ie to resource yourself practically.
Linking through LISTENING (7 mins)
Christian mission is “finding out where the Holy Spirit is at work and joining it.” Rowan Williams
Moses story, actually a very specific listening – “because of their slave drivers”
So we have the Moses example on one hand. And on the other hand, my kids tell me “Dad, you’re not listening.” Listening is something I need to work at.
Wonder, how our community rate us? Are we Moses church – hear our cry, know what our slave drives are? Or are we Steve Taylor absent Dad, churches, not really listening? If the community was to do an audit of our “listening life” – analyse our prayers for others, what occupies our service sheets, what is on our noticeboard – they listen, or they’re not really listening.
Diagram from mission shaped ministry course – listening – team, society, community, Scripture, prayer, church.
Take further if you want, with Listening for mission. Mission Audit books, Questions – (page 3)
5 stages – what do you know; initial research; in-depth listening; reflection and testing; action.
A story – of a church that suddenly started listening.
LINKING IN – (10 mins)
There was a church in NZ. Asked the question “What are we doing?” Wrote down all their activities – church services, small groups. An impressive list.
Then asked, Who are these activities for? Made up three headings
- yellow – contacting, community – real, authentic relationships
- blue – Jesus storytelling, discipling
- green – Christians, worshipping, leadership developing
Realised that most of their energy was going into Christians.
Which got me doing this exercise with my then church? We were reach younger families. We had listened. There were lots in area. It was also what was in our hand, we had mainly 20s-40s – who have kids. So we set up mainly music.
And then invited them to special services. But the gap was too big. So what could we have done to create “connections”? Brainstorm together. Examples include
yellow – mainly music,
blue – help me – storytelling, DIY Advent crafts, thank parents breakfast, short courses,
green – special service, all-age/messy church
For me, linking in means taking a good, honest look at our life.
Listing all the events our church runs.
Putting them in the right circle
Then, identify the group we are “listening to”.
Is that balanced?
What are the next steps?
If we’re leaders, do our volunteers have skills.
What skills do you need here?
How can you encourage and nuture those skills?
Take further in workshop with linking in exercise (here)
LINKING OUT F ex (10 mins)
The Linking In example works inward, assumption that people are coming to us.
However, think about the ministry of Jesus – Does he invite disciples to his place? Or does he not go to there’s? So making links is about people coming to us. It is also about us going to people. That’s Fresh expressions. (Definition – us going to people.
LINKING POSTURE – 4 stations (7 mins)
We’ve been thinking strategically in terms of colours and who we are. Making links is also about our posture. I want to invite you to use your body (headings here from mission shaped ministry course).
1 – prayerful passion – posture = kneel. On knees praying for people.
2 – patient attentiveness – posture = hands out, open to surprise.
3 – reciprocal hospitality – posture = two hands, clasped, pulling against each other and that sense of give and take. That we are not only hosts, giving, but guests receiving.
4 – practicalities – posture = hand on chin. That we consider the practicalities of safety for volunteers, Police checks, resources.
Workshop break-out. Explore the 4 postures with a handout, start work on linking in exercise.
Return to show Fresh Expressions DVD, Somewhere Else story.
I started with Moses. God’s “community mission” promise is in Exodus 3:8 “I have come down to rescue them … to bring them .. into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am going to play an advertisement. It’s of a community being filled with colour. Which for me captures why we do this, to see Kingdom colours splashed through our community. I am going to play it. As I do, I invite you to call out your community, the group you are listening to. We will use this advertisement as prayer.